Temples of the Living God

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Co 3:16)

If we are temples of the living God as St. Paul suggests, who is building the temple?  In Old Testament times God dwelled in a tent and then in the temple in Jerusalem, but Jesus declared that the time had come when true worshipers would worship the Father not in a temple, but “in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:21) Jesus also said that if we love him and obey his teaching the Father and he will come and make their home with us. (John 14:23)

Psalm 127 says, “Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labor in vain.”  So, who is building our temple?  Are we seeking the Lord’s help or are we trying to do it by ourselves?  How is our character and conscience being formed?  Is it with the Lord’s help, or are we leaving him out of the process?

While God continues to invite us to grow closer to him, he gives us complete freedom to accept or reject his invitation.  He offers us several tools, however, to help us build a temple for his presence. 

The first is as simple as conversation with him, which we call prayer.  He stands ready, knocking at the door of our hearts waiting for us to open the door and invite him in.  it usually involves an intentional act on our part.  The second tool is his word. The Bible reflects his word in many different forms.  If we read his word regularly, we can come to know God better.  We can take on the wisdom his word provides.  We can learn from the lives of the people of the Bible, the words of the prophets and the psalms.  We can learn from the teaching of Jesus and the example of his life.     

One of the most important tools God gives us is his church. Through the church he gives us sacraments to experience his grace and presence.  Through his church he gives us a community of believers to strengthen our journey.

God makes all these tools available so that we can build a temple for him to dwell in.  Many of the cathedrals of the world have taken decades to complete.  Our temples take a life time.  We never quite finish the final touches, but God is with us as soon as we start construction.      

Where are you in the process of building a temple in which God can dwell?

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